This Is Not a Stats Primer

Recently I’ve noticed an influx of new readers to my little corner of the blogosphere. To my new audience I say “Hi mom & dad, sorry for changing your browser start-up page.” Since the basketball stat community is new on the scene, a lot of the numbers I use here are still unknown to the general public. Unless you’ve been here for a while, or you’re already an insider on the APBRmetric scene, you might not be comfortable with all the terms on KB.Net.

This is where you expect me to do a whole big write-up on the stats I use with definitions, equations & examples. Fortunately for me, a few other people have already done that. So instead I’ll just give a link-o-rama. One note before I do, if you read the whole thing without falling asleep, at the very bottom of the post there is a little reward.

Kevin Pelton’s Stat Primer – A great place to start. Kevin goes over many of the APBRmetric standards.

Kevin Pelton’s description of Dean Oliver’s 4 factors (team stats) – The four factors is hands down the best way to analyze a team’s strengths & weaknesses.

“What Are Those Numbers?” by Forum Blue & Gold (Lakers blog) – covers a few things Pelton might have missed.

Required reading.
Basketball On Paper
– Dean Oliver’s revolutionary book on basketball statistics. If you don’t have it, you’re not looking at the game with open eyes.

Basketball Forecast 2004
– John Hollinger, who is undeniably today’s best basketball writer, analyzes every player and team using his own brand of statistics.

THE site for current stats. 82games features unique stats you can’t find anywhere else. oPER, team scoring by position, 5 man teams, +/-, etc.
THE site for advanced historical stats (PER, eFG, PSA), with incredible query labs.
Stats page by yours truly – I have everything John Hollinger has in his Prospectus/forecast series, Dean Oliver’s four factors for teams, and per minute stats.
The Stats Pimp Page (currently down) – has lots of other things, including Dean Oliver’s win%, pythagorean standings, strength of schedule, etc.

And for those whose left click button died on them just after clicking on the link, here is my lazy-assed 30 second version of a stat primer.

Poss = Possessions. A possession means the ball has changed hands from the offense to defense. This is primarily used to equalize per game stats between teams, since faster teams use more possessions than deliberate squeeze every second out of the shot clock teams. (Example: points allowed/possession is more indicative of a team’s defense than points allowed/game).

eFG% = Effective Field Goal Percentage. FG%, but normalized for three pointers.

PSA = Points per Shot Attempt. A misnomer, since the equation is not the simple PTS/FGA, but it’s a measure of a player’s ability to score per attempt including free throws. If you see TS% (True shooting percentage) it is half of PSA.

PER = Player Efficiency Rating. John Hollinger’s linear weight, adjusting for minutes played & pace. 15 is average, MVP season ~ 30.

oPER = opposition PER. Only kept by 82games, basically the PER of the opponent playing the same position. Or a defensive version of PER.

PPR = Pure Point Rating. JH’s (John Hollinger’s) stat to compare Point guards.

AST-R = Assist Ratio. JH’s stat to replace AST/TO ratio.

REB-R = Rebounding Ratio. JH’s stat for measuring rebounding.

TO-R = Turnover Ratio. JH’s stat for measuring turnovers.

USG-R = Usage Ratio. JH’s stat for measuring ability to create shots.

Finally as I promised, a little treat for all the statheads out there. A Search Plugin for Firefox. Click on this link from firefox & you’ll be able to search for any player in’s in your browser in a split second. If you haven’t switched over to Firefox yet, this is yet another reason to do so. It’s clearly superior to IE.

Oh and while I’m at it, here’s one for as well.

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Mike Kurylo

Mike Kurylo is the founder and editor of His book on the 2012 Knicks, "We’ll Always Have Linsanity," is on sale now. Follow him on twitter (@KnickerBlogger).